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Tech Advice: What Do You Do If You Do The Wrong Thing?

It happens. One moment, your laptop or desktop computer is working fine. The next moment: Trouble, with a capital “T.” It looks like you have a problem. A big problem.


Unexpectedly, your browser’s home page goes somewhere else. Popups quickly fill your screen. Or a red warning sign appears on your screen. Or suddenly, it starts randomly crashing. Or worse, your laptop has slowed to a crawl.


A computer virus could be on the attack. These feisty little demons can wreak havoc with our personal and professional lives. One tiny small piece of computer code can instruct your computer to do terrible things, to both itself and other machines.


Let’s take a page from the playbook from Tech Helpline. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry’s #1 tech support service, available to nearly half the Realtors in North America. That’s more than 500,000 Realtors in the U.S. and Canada. Tech Helpline’s office and staff of professional tech analysts have about 300 years of combined IT experience. Most importantly, they work with real estate agents every day.


What do you do if you do the wrong thing and clicked on the wrong link, or downloaded an attachment on what’s now obviously a bad email. What do you do if any of this happens to you?


The first thing


Close your browser. And disconnect from the internet. Viruses love the internet, and you don’t want yours multiplying or updating itself. An infected computer has the potential of infecting other computers on the same network.


At this stage, it’s essential to stop working on your computer until you have removed the culprit.


Realize, too, that some nasty viruses may try to stop you from disconnecting from the internet. Other infections do the opposite: they create a private internet proxy to stay connected while preventing your browser and email from connecting to the internet at all.


While there are some do-it-yourself steps you could take if you can’t disconnect from the Internet – or your indicator shows that data is flowing in the background – it’s time to take the next step.


Turn your computer off


If you still can’t disconnect from the internet, it’s time to prepare for a shutdown. But don’t rush to turn your computer off. First, save and close any files you have been working on and are open. Next, close every program that is open. These two things are vital to complete before you shut down your computer or you risk corrupting your files.


Some pesky viruses may try to prevent you from powering down your computer. But don’t panic. Most often, merely holding down the power key for about five seconds will override the virus and turn off your computer.


At this point, you have two choices. If you are technically savvy, and running Windows, you can restart your computer in Safe Mode, or in some cases, Safe Mode with Networking. But for the majority of agents, the next best step is to make a phone call to Tech Helpline.


Call for no-cost Tech Support


Tech Helpline began almost fifteen years ago as a service for members of Florida Realtors®. It’s like a “Genius Bar” for Realtors, known for its no-nonsense technical advice and warm, friendly, customer service. Tech Helpline rapidly grew by offering its service to other Realtor® associations, Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) and real estate brokerage firms.


If an agent or broker has access to Tech Helpline, there is no cost to use it. The sponsoring organization provides it to their members as a benefit. It covers every tech support call, so for the agent, it’s a free call for tech help.


Virus-infected computers, not surprisingly, historically have been one of the top reasons agents call for help. After you have disconnected from the internet and shut your computer down, it’s time to get professional help. It’s time to talk to a tech support analyst at Tech Helpline.


Be forthcoming


The bottom line is we all make mistakes occasionally. It’s part of being human. Technology is so sophisticated today, and yet as beneficial as it is, it also can be potentially dangerous. You could visit the wrong website page. Not download or install a thing. But by visiting that malicious website, you infected your computer.


Remember to tell your Tech Helpline analyst the truth. If you try to hide what you did or feign ignorance, it may take much longer to fix your problem. Or worse, only part of the problem will be addressed. The more you share, the more they can help. They’ve seen a lot, and their job is to help, not judge.


Be proactive


Remember, keeping your antivirus program updated and always running in the background is a best practice. While nothing can protect your computer 100 percent of the time, it can almost always help. Also, Tech Helpline recommends Adblock Plus, a completely free add-on for Chrome and Firefox browsers. It’s a fast and easy installation and can automatically stop malicious script, unwanted popups and ads – even those running on dangerous webpages.


What you should do when you click on the wrong link is to learn from the experience. You can’t blindly depend on antivirus programs to always keep you safe. But remember, when you get in a bind, Tech Helpline is just a click or call away.


For additional insight from the Tech Helpline experts, check out these articles:

Knowing What These Tech Buzzwords Mean Could Save Your Real Estate Business
How can you make your data safe?
Don’t get caught by the phishing hook